Holidays in St. Magnus Cathedral

Holiday Travel Guide
St. Magnus Cathedral featuring heritage elements, a cemetery and a church or cathedral

Examine the intriguing 17th-century tombstones housed inside this stunning sandstone cathedral.

St. Magnus Cathedral is among Orkney’s most recognizable and striking landmarks. Known as the “Light in the North,” this medieval cathedral dominates the skyline of Kirkwall. Inside are memorials to a number of prominent Orcadians. Take a guided tour of the building’s upper levels for wonderful views over the cathedral itself and the surrounding landscape.

The cathedral was built beginning in 1137 by the Viking Earl Rognvald and named for his martyred uncle, Magnus Erlendsson, patron saint of the Orkneys. Look for the remains of St. Magnus and Rognvald, which are interred between the cathedral’s East Choir piers. Constructed using red and yellow sandstone, the cathedral’s design is primarily Norman. Work continued on the building for more than three centuries, and therefore you’ll also notice elements of transitional and early Gothic styles.

Much of the cathedral’s soft sandstone details have worn away over the centuries. Notice how the capitals around the main doors, for instance, have been eroded down to twisted stumps.

Step inside and admire the cathedral’s towering sandstone columns, which are supported by exposed brickwork arches. Inspect the 17th- and 18th-century epitaphs that line the walls, mainly along the north and south aisles. Many tombs feature intricate ornamentation, including skull and crossbones emblems. The west side of the building features a gorgeous stained-glass window, which was commissioned for the cathedral’s 850th anniversary in 1987.

Head to the far left of the cathedral to find the tomb of Victorian-era Arctic explorer Dr. John Rae, who discovered the final section of the Northwest Passage in Canada. The tomb of Scottish missionary explorer William Baikie is also located here.

Book a tour of the cathedral’s upper levels, which includes a visit to its tower. The upper levels offer magnificent views of the building’s interior as well as over all of Orkney. You’ll also have an opportunity to get a closer look at the beautiful west window, clock and three tower bells.

St. Magnus Cathedral is located in central Kirkwall and admission is free. Tours of the upper levels have a fee and must be arranged in advance. Opening hours vary by season. See the impressive artifacts housed inside this fine cathedral.

191 Cheap Hotels Near St. Magnus Cathedral

The Ayre Hotel
The Ayre Hotel
3 out of 5
Ayre Road, \N, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$142 per night from 26 Jan. to 27 Jan.
Situated in Kirkwall, this hotel is steps away from Mainland and Orkney Wireless Museum. St. Magnus Cathedral and Orkney Museum are also within 10 minutes.
4.1/5 Very Good! (35 reviews)
"Stayed in one of the new apartments. Well equipped only missing a bin (probably due to Covid)"

Reviewed on 19 Sep. 2021

The Ayre Hotel
The Shore
The Shore
3 out of 5
Shore Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is AU$170 per night from 25 Jan. to 26 Jan.
Located in the heart of Kirkwall, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Mainland and Orkney Wireless Museum. St. Magnus Cathedral and Orkney Museum are also ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (88 reviews)
"The hotel itself is good but the staff need to be a little more attentive to the guests. Just the little things like offering you another drink when your glass is clearly empty rather than having to ask. Some spend to much time chatting with each other rather than watching the needs of the room."

Reviewed on 3 Oct. 2021

The Shore
The Orkney Hotel
The Orkney Hotel
3 out of 5
40 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is AU$170 per night from 25 Jan. to 26 Jan.
Located in the heart of Kirkwall, this eco-friendly hotel is steps away from Mainland, Bishop's Palace and Earl's Palace. St. Magnus Cathedral and Scapa Distillery ...
4/5 Very Good! (22 reviews)
Lovely hotel in centre of Kirkwall
"Lovely hotel in centre of Kirkwall ran by team of friendly people with free parking and wifi. Very good food served in both a la carte restaurant and bar."

Reviewed on 7 Sep. 2021

The Orkney Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Holidays in St. Magnus Cathedral

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Top St. Magnus Cathedral Hotel & Accommodation Deals

The Ayre Hotel
The Ayre Hotel
3 out of 5
Ayre Road, \N, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$142 per night from 26 Jan. to 27 Jan.
The Ayre Hotel
The Shore
The Shore
3 out of 5
Shore Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$170 per night from 25 Jan. to 26 Jan.
The Shore
The Orkney Hotel
The Orkney Hotel
3 out of 5
40 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$170 per night from 25 Jan. to 26 Jan.
The Orkney Hotel
Albert Hotel
Albert Hotel
3 out of 5
Mounthoolie Lane, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$211 per night from 25 Jan. to 26 Jan.
Albert Hotel
Heatherlea B&B
Heatherlea B&B
3.5 out of 5
Weyland Terrace, Kirkwall, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$160 per night from 25 Jan. to 26 Jan.
Heatherlea B&B
St Ola Hotel
St Ola Hotel
3 out of 5
Harbour Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$149 per night from 25 Jan. to 26 Jan.
St Ola Hotel
Kirkwall Youth Hostel
Kirkwall Youth Hostel
2 out of 5
Old Scapa Road, Kirkwall, Scotland
Kirkwall Youth Hostel
Cosy, modern ground floor flat in central Kirkwall
Cosy, modern ground floor flat in central Kirkwall
86 Victoria St, Flat 1 Ground Floor, Kirkwall, SCT
Cosy, modern ground floor flat in central Kirkwall
Ivyhouse - Flat1 -1-bed Apartment in Kirkwall
Ivyhouse - Flat1 -1-bed Apartment in Kirkwall
3 out of 5
Flat 1, Bridge Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
Ivyhouse - Flat1 -1-bed Apartment in Kirkwall
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.